October 21, 2004

Working part time…..

Observations after 4 weeks as Student Grant.

This is such a gas. I gave up my 25 year career as a manager in logistics (if you couldn't get it in Boots anywhere in the world it was my fault, because one of my trucks was hors de combat, or because one of the drivers hadn't shown up for work, or we'd lost the stock, or we'd delivered it to the wrong place – whatever. 95% of the time we got it right, though. Not just Boots, either. M&S, Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, Debs, Top Shop, Dotty P, Burton, Polo Ralph Lauren, H&M, New Look, Haagen Dasz, Ben & Jerry, Birdseye Walls were all customers). Thing was, it was a constant battle against the clock, traffic jams, tea breaks, flat tyres, broken suzies, weather in the Irish Sea, Ferry strikes, diesel prices, customer mind changes, category managers' personal vendettas against each other for shelf space, system crashes, consultants etc etc)

So I cried 'Enough'! and jacked it in, to come to Warwick as a part time student. Here's why it's a gas. No phones ringing, a manageable number of emails (used to get 60 a day, all of which needed stuff doing), time to think about and do what really matters. Slight twitching in the nether regions about two impending essays, but all so MEANT and purposeful.

So, I come to Warwick 3 days a week, and drive trucks for the remaining two. Time to listen to radio plays from end to end, time to think. Driving for an agency is unpredictable, but on bad days, when you get the crappiest motor and dirtiest trailer in the fleet, and have the most awkward deliveries to make to the most inaccessible places, you know that it'll be better, or at least different tomorrow. And the balance between bios praktikos and bios theoretikos is perfect.

Having spent most of my life using agency drivers, it's an eye-opener to be one. You're kind of invisible. In an underclass of moderately skilled workers, an agency driver is a true untouchable. You're ignored by the regulars, and abused by the bosses. A chastening experience. A regular member of staff is seen as some kind of fixed overhead, so is not really chased or monitored. 000's are thus wasted in crap productivity. An agency labourer is seen as being paid for out of the petty cash tin, and every last ounce is wrung from him or her. No-one gives him or her any training. (It's not worth the investment). So you end up being a kind of self-taught Jack of all T's.

Speaking of investment

There was a joky kind of article in the paper recently (The Guardian, as it happens) about truck drivers in Italy having fewer and fewer porny calendars in their trucks, and more and more religious icons. This is no signifier of a religious revival, as the article suggested. Abi Titmuss doesn't need to panic, or seek out a coif. It's because they're all getting older, and there are no young guys who can afford to become LGV drivers. Older guys seem to be less prone to testosterone attacks, and more interested in hedging their bets with 'im upstairs.

Anyway. Life at Warwick is truly excellent, a mon avis, and I've not regretted my life change for one second. Shed loads of money? Ptui. Who needs it? Better a dinner of herbs….......... er, or something.

If you have been, thanks for reading.

Is this what Blogs are supposed to be about?


October 05, 2004

Good Curry in Leamington

The Kismet. Go to the bottom of the parade, over the river, turn right opposite the church (the largest parish church in Warwickshire. Thought you should know. Oh yes and it's not far from where they used to take the elephants to bath in the river. This is all true, by the way). The Kismet is opposite the bingo hall, and next door to Piccolino's. These things are always subjective, but I reckon that in a world full of average division two curry houses, this one stands out a bit. It's not a cheapo, but it won't break the bank.

Mitch Benn. You will wet your pants

Saw Mitch Benn at the Arts Centre on Sunday night. Excellent. No style of modern music was left unscathed. See him if you can, and watch out for the Duran Duran pisstake (They spend their time now dressing up as themselves and going to 80's nights, hoping to win the look-alike contest..), and the Boy band pisstake, and the Jim Morrison grubby leather trousres pisstake (and if ever anyone needed the piss taking, it's dear dead Jim…..), and the Hitler dressed up as a cowboy song, and above all, and go for this alone, Macbeth in the style of Marshall Mathers. It'll have you looking at your neighbour, both of you thinking how the hell did he come up with that?

See him next time he comes this way.


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